• Carson Now on Facebook
  • Follow Carson Now on Twitter
  • Follow Carson Now by RSS
  • Follow Carson Now by Email

Movie Review: 'The Descendants' offers a fine cast headed by George Clooney

The Academy Award nominated film "The Descendants," now playing at the Fandango Galaxy movie house in Carson City, is a hard-eyed romantic comedy with an ensemble cast headed by George Clooney, the only name star aboard.
Doesn't matter, this is a fine cast from Clooney as Matt King to Judy Greer as Julie Speer, wife of a real estate salesman who … but let's let that wait.
The film opens with a scene of an attractive woman riding a boat. She's laughing in the wind. This is before an of the opening credits. No explanation given or needed.

Then Clooney comes in to deny Hawaii, where the movie takes place, is a paradise, backed by scruffy scenes of the city. Matt King is a well-do-do lawyer as well as the sole trustee for 25,000 acres of land on Kauai which he is soon going to have to sell due to state inheritance laws. He is married but his wife is in the hospital in a coma from which he has been told she will not come out of.

He lives with his 10-year-old daughter Scottie (Amara Miller, fine as something other than the "cute" kid) while daughter Alexandra (Shailene Woodly, another real find who does more acting with the twitch of a mouth than most actors ever dream of) is off on another island recovering from addiction and a fierce dislike of her comatose mother, unexplained at first.

Matt and Scottie bring Alex home and while she is antagonistic about her mother she finally fells Matt that Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie, she of the opening clip) was having an affair with a man named Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard). Alexandra tells Matt this while swimming in their unkempt pool, and in a wrenching underwater scene she vents her grief.

Matt goes dashing out to friends' house where he questions the couple about the affair. They confirm it.

It's at the point the Clooney, with silver streaks in his hair, seems to physically shrink inside himself, as if the news was too much for him. He seems to lose body but gains moral structure.

But it's not all dreary. Lots of laughs of the right kind at the right times.
Matt tells his daughters that Elizabeth is going to die when they take her off life support, as she had requested at one time.

Matt and his daughters take a drive to a remote part of Kauai which is part of the trust. The scene is underplayed as a cousin explains where the golf course and hotel would go when the trust is broken up and sold. The view is indeed beautiful and the clash with modern business and natural beauty is understated.

Matt finally confronts his wife's lover who admits that it was just a lark for him, although he says Elizabeth loved him. As Alex and Matt leave Matt kisses Speer's wife Julie full on the mouth as a kind of signal that her marriage was not sound.

Later in Elizabeth's hospital room Julie (superb in her role) comes with a bouquet of flowers and in front of Matt tells the comatose Elizabeth that she forgives her for destroying her marriage and family.

Matt afterwards avoids the easy way out of also forgiving Elizabeth as well; instead he simply says goodbye with love.

There's a kind on interlude where Matt and his daughters add Elizabeth's ashes to the ocean. It's a quiet coda to Elizabeth whom we saw often in her hospital bed unmoving.

Matt then meets with all the cousins to announce the end of he trust and the pot of gold for all. But he reads the agreement and decides not to break up the trust but to fight to keep it intact --- as a family they owe that the Hawaii.

A quiet ending, fully in tone with the film as the three survivors settle on coach under Elizabeth's blanket, share ice cream and watch TV.

Director Alexander Payne (who wrote the final screenplay with others) uses a deft hand to meld all these elements into a rich whole. He doesn't stoop to sentimentality but touches it all with simple sentiment. He's fortunate to have such a splendid cast and an original such as Clooney to lead them. Oscar bound. Possibly.
--- Sam Bauman


  • George Clooney as Matt King
  • Shailene Woodley as Alexandra "Alex" King
  • Judy Greer as Julie Speer
  • Beau Bridges as Cousin Hugh
  • Nick Krause as Sid
  • Amara Miller as Scottie King
  • Matthew Lillard as Brian Speer
  • Robert Forster as Scott Thorson
  • Patricia Hastie as Elizabeth King
  • Mary Birdsong as Kai Mitchell
  • Rob Huebel as Mark Mitchell
  • Milt Kogan as Dr. Johnston
  • Laird Hamilton as Troy Cook
  • Michael Ontkean as Cousin Milo
  • Matt Corboy as Cousin Ralph
  • Celia Kenney as Reina

Directed by Alexander Payne
Produced by Jim Burke
Alexander Payne
Jim Taylor
Lawrence Gordon
Mark Gordon
Lloyd Levin
Screenplay by Alexander Payne
Nat Faxon
Jim Rash
Based on The Descendants by
Kaui Hart Hemmings
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Phedon Papamichael
Editing by Kevin Tent Studio Ad Hominem Enterprises
Running time 115 minutes, rated R because of language although that is a joke.

Sponsor Showcase

On your “Must Not Miss” list, is the popular Downtown Wine Walk – held the First Saturday of every month from 1- 5pm. For just $10 (which supports the Downtown Business Association) you’ll receive a commemorative wine glass and endless reasons to sip, stroll, and shop, the afternoon away, through Historic Downtown Carson City. Bring your wine walk glass with the Carson City Logo on it and pay only $8. Don't forget the after Wine Walk raffle prize party, 5:00pm, at the Cabaret Lounge, Carson Nugget Casino!

Tickets can be purchased at Bella Fiora Wines, Cactus Jack’s, Carson Jewelry & Loan, Carson Nugget, and Horseshoe Club, where you will receive hand stamps, glasses, and maps.

Sponsored by the Carson City Downtown Business Association, our goal is to carry on a local tradition, hosting an event which showcases a monthly Downtown celebration. It’s a Saturday stroll with a glass of wine through historic downtown Carson City where boutiques, local shops, galleries, restaurants and casinos, pull out all the stops to awaken your taste buds and tantalize your senses... experience a Downtown taste sensation!.

Carson’s full-service casino featuring:

  • Over 590 Slots – Certified Loose!
  • Single-deck Blackjack, 3-card Poker, Craps, Roulette
  • Poker Room
  • Keno
  • Two restaurants
  • Weekly live entertainment
  • 80 recently remodeled hotel rooms
  • Complete banquet facilities

Day R. Williams scored top of his law school class in Evidence and Constitutional Law, and he wrote for the Law Review. He is known as a fine legal writer. Day has practiced solo for more than 20 years in Carson City. He has handled contract disputes, personal injuries, bad faith by insurance companies, probate, estates and trusts, appeals, and a murder case. Day has tried cases and appeared in court in Carson City, Reno, Minden, Yerington, Ely, Fallon, Pahrump, and Las Vegas, and he has argued before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was a driving force in the first citizen-initiated grand jury in Nevada’s history.


Change the way you do business. Dominate the competition. Create a professional, lasting impression with a Sign Pro sign.

Every Sign Pro sign is custom-made to your specifications. Indoor or outdoor. Short-term or long-term.

Sign Pro staff will work with you to select the most appropriate vinyl's and materials to serve your needs. Each product we use has been chosen for its quality, durability and economy.

Signs create the first impression of your business. Our professional staff can brighten and outdated image, replace a worn sign or create a whole new look. Your product knowledge combined with our attention to detail will create the winning formula for visual success.

Sign Pro's state-of-the art equipment offers hundreds of type styles and design choices. We can use your artwork of create dynamic images from scratch. We can enhance your ideas with borders, shadows, special effects and distortions.

Sign Pro will translate your multi-colored world into two or three dimensional reality.

  • Window and Wall Graphics
  • Exhibits
  • Decals
  • Banners
  • Vehicle Identification
  • Magnetic's
  • Full-color Imagery
  • American with Disabilities Act Signs
  • Wood/Plastics/Metal

Add distinction to your business exterior by using creative graphics that invite your customers to step inside. Tell your customers about your products before they walk through the door.

Sign Pro is first in dependability, first in quality, first in customer service. At Sign Pro we want to be your sign company. Let us open the door leading to future success for your business, your products and you!

Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
1501 North Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89403

Top Stories

Another strong cold front will push through the Sierra and western Nevada region Thursday into Friday, bringing rain to the valleys and snow to Lake Tahoe, according to the National Weather Service. Ahead of the front gusty winds will develop with gusts up to 45 mph and locally higher in wind prone areas.

Tri-Net Narcotics Task Force arrested three men Wednesday afternoon in Carson City on felony heroin possession charges as well as obstructing officers and drug paraphernalia.

The arrests went down at around 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a Carson City fast food restaurant in the 300 block of William Street. According to task force officers, the men resisted arrest at first but were quickly detained.

The Carson City Sheriff's Office has released surveillance images of an armed robbery that happened Saturday at a Rand Avenue liquor store.

An 18-year-old Dayton man died in a crash involving a big rig Tuesday on Highway 50 and Ambrose Lane in Dayton, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

David Arroyo Lamas died Tuesday night at Renown Medical Center in Reno. He was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Ana Laura Munoz, 18, of Carson City. She is in critical condition, said NHP Trooper Dave Gibson.

The driver of the big rig involved in the crash is Gary Alan Williams, 61, of St. George, Utah. He was also hospitalized with undisclosed injuries.

UPDATE: A 66-year-old Silver Springs woman was flown by Care Flight after a single vehicle accident Wednesday morning in which her car went more than 300 feet down an embankment off of Highway 50 and Pine Cone Road in Dayton, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The woman, Claire Musty, was flown to Renown Medical Center in Reno with a possible broken femur, said NHP Trooper Dan Lopez.

The Carson City High School community is mourning the loss of one of their teachers, Debbie Elder. Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office told KRNV that Elder died in Arizona on Saturday. The Mesa Police Department said her death appears to be a suicide.

Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes said Mrs. Elder was a 24-year teacher of the school district, teaching math at Carson High School and before that, Carson Middle School.

The Carson City Sheriff's Office is again receiving calls from the public in regards to money scams. The first one involves citizens being called and told that a warrant for their arrest has been issued for failure to show up for jury duty.

The caller identifies himself using an actual deputy or Nevada Highway Patrol officers name to convince the called party that this is real.

The caller has also given the name of current judges as being the ones who have signed the warrant. He will then try to convince the called party to send a MoneyPak or some other form of pre-paid debit card.

Many petty larceny incidents in Carson City are entirely preventable. Most are crimes of opportunity where the thief's job is made easier by items left in plain view in cars and trucks, unlocked houses, bicycles, property that was not secured, and placing trust in untrustworthy "friends."

Here is a list of items stolen during late February to late April 2014 that were entirely preventable, had property owners taken actions to make sure they kept their belongings. Only half the items/cases have value of the property attached to them. Those that do, were worth almost $20,500.

On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Robert Crowell presented the Spirit of Enterprise Award to U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei at the Carson City Chamber’s Soup’s On! luncheon Tuesday.

The award is presented to those congressmen voting for pro-business legislation sponsored by the U.S. Chamber. This is the congressman’s third Spirit of Enterprise award from the U.S. Chamber confirming his continued commitment to business.

Photo provided by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.

There was early action on the softball diamond as Carson hosted McQueen Tuesday. McQueen needed little to no time to take the advantage in the top of the first going up 4-0 after a couple wild pitches and a plethora of good at-bats by their Lancer offense.

It was a cold one to say the least at Ron McNutt field in Carson City Tuesday, but that didn't slow down the Carson Senators as they rolled over the Lancers. After a scoreless top of the first inning, Carson needed no time warming up in the cold weather picking up three runs early in the bottom of the first with a couple of singles, a sacrifice fly and a booming double by Jace Zampirro.

Here is this week's fishing report for rivers, lakes and streams in Nevada, northern California and the Sierra. This Saturday, April 26, 2014 is the opening day for fishing in most California waters. Remember to keep your fishing license in view, the thermos filled with coffee and tight lines all the way.

Students and staff at Eagle Valley Middle School need the community's help. Thursday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the generous owners of Pizza Factory 3120 Hwy. 50 E., #3, will donate 20 percent of the entire day's earnings to the EVMS parent teacher organization.

The donation will help with purchase CRT testing snacks for the entire student body. The community is asked to come in, call in or carry out pizza, sandwiches or pasta and help raise funds for Eagle Valley Middle School.

A Carson City man was sentenced Tuesday to a minimum of 40 months in prison for the injuries he caused when he hit a man in the head with a liquor bottle during a fight.

UPDATE: Two people are in critical condition after a crash Tuesday on Highway 50 at Ambrose Lane in Dayton, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

NHP crash investigation details learned so far indicate a 2004 black Audi four-door vehicle making a left turn from Ambrose lane onto Highway 50 pulled in front of a red 2007 Wabash tractor pulling a trailer, said NHP Trooper Dave Gibson. The tractor struck the Audi in the drivers’ door with its front pushing it off onto the South shoulder.

A 41-year-old man was jailed Monday on a felony charge of vehicle burglary and a lesser charge of domestic battery after an argument over taxes and paperwork escalated with his former common law wife at her place of business.

David Alexander of Dayton was being held at Carson City Jail on $28,137 bond. According to the arrest report, Carson City Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a casino in the 3800 block of South Carson Street in reference to a domestic battery.

Nine projects have been awarded grants through the 2014 Lake Tahoe License Plate program, which generated around $350,000 last year from the sale of special plates through the DMV. Grant recipients were announced Tuesday by the Nevada Division of State Lands.

Grants are made available annually for projects that preserve and restore the natural environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

In 2014 the standard business driving mileage rate is 56 cents per mile. IRS adjusted that down from the 56.5 cents per mile in 2013.

If the business had four or less vehicles, it is OK to use the mileage rate instead of actual expenses. However, each vehicle’s tax basis (cost) is to be reduced by the depreciation component — 22 cents per mile. That will be important when the vehicle is sold.

Two men were arrested Monday and face multiple felony charges after they allegedly stole a vehicle and then went to Kohl's where they stole an Xbox and then led Carson City sheriff's deputies on a brief chase.

Jacob Andrew Pacheaco, 27, and Danny Maxfield Jr., 37, were arrested separately, with Maxfield jumping out of a moving vehicle, suffering injuries which required him to go the hospital.

The latest edition of Capital Crossfire explores drones and their future in Nevada. Join Karl Neathammer and Shelly Aldean with guests Steve Tackes, a senior partner of Kaempfer Crowell Law and Karl Hutter, COO of Click Bond, a local manufacturing company in Carson City as they discuss new developments in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“Drones”) and the regulatory challenges associated with their use.